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Juan Estévan Arellano
Today, local food is a rave. Everywhere you go, everyone is promoting local food. There are local food festivals all over, from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Taos and even in small towns throughout the Río Arriba bioregion. Farmers who produce for local farmers’ markets are given awards for being a “Local Hero.”
How times have changed. Not too long ago, everything consumed was local food. To people in the Hispano communities, local food—mostly grown within the family or hamlet—has been a way of life. Local food often was delivered to the doorsteps of the consumer. This started with More >
As I write this, I am sipping a cup of warm atole, prepared as I was shown by my older brother, Joe, when I was but a child of 10 and needed to begin taking responsibility for my own hunger. The blue corn for this morning’s meal was lovingly grown and hand-processed by organic farmers, my friends Dora and Lorenzo, from the South Valley of Albuquerque. Preparing and consuming this hot cereal on a cool fall morning of contracting greenery and advancing parched ochre leaves and stalks satisfies not only my palate and my body’s need for energy, maintenance More >
This annual event was held on Oct. 12, 2014 at the historic Gutierrez-Hubbell House in the South Valley of Albuquerque. It offered the public a chance to connect with local growers, producers and businesses. There were a variety of workshops and lectures on gardening/farming, seed saving, New Mexico’s farming history and culture, as well as lots of locally grown vegetables, small batch jams, salsas, baked goods, soaps and other products, cooking and gardening workshops and kids’ activities. The Mid-Region Council of Governments, Bernalillo County and a variety of local groups and organizations sponsored the festival. www.localfoodnm.org
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Like many states, New Mexico imports most of its food. But the local food movement is thriving, with increased activity among consumers and entrepreneurs. Proponents say, the closer the food operations, the lower the fuel costs and CO2 emissions and the greater the benefit to the local economy and to food security.
These days, it is not unusual for patrons to expect menus to feature at least some dishes made with locally sourced products. People increasingly want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown. Many restaurants, particularly independents, now source locally, both as a marketing angle More >
NM Organic Farming Conference Set for Feb. 20-21, 2015
Organic farmers, ranchers, market gardeners and researchers will gather at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid Feb. 20-21, 2015 for the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference. Thirty-six breakout sessions will take up production issues ranging from soil building to pest management to water harvesting, pollinators, understanding the biology and ecology of common New Mexico weeds and farming for the wild. On the 21st, participants will feast on local, organic food at a luncheon recognizing the New Mexico Organic Farmer of the Year. Farm to Table, the N.M. Department of Agriculture and N.M. State University More >
Growing Local Food Businesses by Leaps and Pounds
Many years ago, over a locally sourced meal, a group of food activists and nonprofit leaders came together in my kitchen to discuss how we might further move our food system in New Mexico to self-sustainability. At the time, in 2008, less than 3 percent of the food New Mexico produced stayed in the state. We wondered how we might increase that number to keep more money in our own backyards. We laughed at our own struggles and our many stops and starts to make things happen. We also saluted the successes More >
Seven New Mexico organizations will share $538,000 in USDA Farmers Marketing and Local Food Promotion Program funding to help family farmers and ranchers develop new markets for their products, support rural communities and increase access to fresh, healthy food.
• Delicious New Mexico will receive $100,000 to provide outreach, marketing, training and technical assistance to improve and expand the Española Food Hub into an incubation hub for northern New Mexico food businesses.
• Santa Fe Community Foundation will receive $100,000 to expand a local, healthy food-procurement program to low-income and low-access communities that will improve the capacity of Pueblo agricultural producers More >
Flagship Food Group in Albuquerque
The California-based Flagship Food Group is an international firm that makes processed foods such as salsa, burritos and tamales, which it sells to national retailers under several names. The company’s new U.S. manufacturing and distribution headquarters is in a former Albuquerque Tortilla Company site, a 78,400-sq.-ft., industrial food-processing facility in Albuquerque’s Renaissance corridor. On Oct. 7, CEO Rob Holland announced that Flagship would hire 125 people immediately and 300 in the next five years. The company expects annual sales to go from about $40 million to $100 million.
¡Sostenga! Commercial Kitchen to Reopen through Partnership
The ¡Sostenga! Commercial More >
Taos Food Center Expansion Supports Entrepreneurship
Taos County Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to support the unique agricultural lifestyle of northern New Mexico. The Taos Food Center, a 5,000-sq.-ft., USDA-certified, commercial-grade food kitchen is at the heart of the TCEDC’s programs. Sixteen restaurants and about 100 food-based businesses have been launched from the center. Over 600 people have trained there in product development, FDA regulations and food safety, along with the history and food culture of the region.
“The free training we provide with our food-production classes fully prepares people to start food businesses and streamlines their ability to hit More >
Healing Mother Earth through Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom
Formed in 1991, the Traditional Native American Farmers Association’s mission is to “revitalize traditional agriculture for spiritual and human need.” The idea is that if we revitalize traditional Native agriculture we will contribute to stabilizing Native communities in three ways: offering economic opportunities for self-sufficiency through sustainable, natural and cultural resource development; rebuilding a means for cultural transmission while reclaiming damaged eco- and social systems; and creating a healthy organic food supply while restoring plant and animal biodiversity to Native lands.
“At the beginning, we were trying to rebuild as cultural survivors,” says More >
Predawn Tewa prayers sing of the wonder of spiritfulness and joy in life. In the beginnings of new light, one sees with the eyes of the heart. Such joy is found in the songs of the birds. It is found in the sounds of wind in the trees. We give love and thanks for these things and for the predawn dew, one of water’s many forms. We give thanks for the healing herbs growing on the mountain slopes and the plateaus. Such joy it is to see and smell the beauty of nature undisturbed. We continue to honor our More >
Museum Hill, Santa Fe
From Sept. 12-14, at the second annual FUZE.SW Festival, award-winning chefs and food journalists from across the United States, as well as leading historians, archaeologists, farmers, artists and folklorists, gathered to discuss and demonstrate Native American culinary traditions and techniques. Two hundred people attended the event at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) and the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) in Santa Fe.
MIAC Director Della Warrior, the museum’s curators and Carnell Chosa from the Santa Fe Indian School facilitated the focus on Native foodways. Also providing guidance and insight were chefs/presenters Nephi Craig (White More >
Maceo Carrillo Martinet
We all have a relative, friend, work associate, or even a bit of ourselves that is pessimistic about the future of humanity. We are told that a gloomy future is our destiny, that everything we touch we eventually destroy. Even the cinematic aliens that visit our planet, like the character named Prat in the movie K-Pax, proclaim that “it’s hard to imagine how we’ve made it this far.” Pessimism toward humanity seems to have more to do with our level of education, or lack thereof, rather than the many threats we face.
Although there is rampant deforestation going on More >
In northern New Mexico, those seeking wisdom and inspiration don’t have to look far, and looking to the past need not mean being stuck in the past. This is evident in a new documentary film, On the Land: Together with the Earth, which takes a dramatic look at the relevance of the region’s traditions, connecting old and new ways of sustainable living.
The film’s seven personal stories reflect experiences and humor gleaned from Pueblo, Hispano and Anglo cultures and show how, in some ways, they are united by conscious efforts to respect the land and each other. The stories include growing More >
If you enjoy locally grown organic fruit, vegetables, meats and dairy or shop at one of New Mexico’s 50-some farmers’ markets, you’re an important part of our state’s farming community and economy.
Nearly half of New Mexico’s farms are small properties of one to nine acres, representing a long tradition of family-owned lands. But many of these family farms are in trouble. Farming alone doesn’t pay the bills—most farmers have second jobs—and farmers generally are aging, with the majority in their 50s and 60s. For many, their family’s land is their primary asset, and they can’t retire without selling it More >
Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country
By Courtney White. Foreword by Michael Pollan
Chelsea Green Publishing, 272 pages. ISBN: 9781603585453
With a masterful blend of storytelling and science, this book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress and economic instability?
Many people know that effective agricultural practices improve land health, but fewer understand that increasing soil carbon levels creates a host of benefits. No one is immune to the carbon cycle, author Courtney White reminds us. We might as More >
Nov. 12-14 in Albuquerque
The 2014 Quivira Conference will focus on concepts and practices that are old and yet new. “Back to the Future” is part of the burgeoning regenerative agriculture movement, whose aim is to restore soil, land, ourselves and our communities to health and happiness via naturally renewing processes. In some cases, this means reviving or expanding time-tested practices; in others it means adopting new technologies and ideas appropriate for regenerative goals.
The conference reflects the larger global celebration of the International Year of Family Farming and Ranching. Its goal is to help raise the profile of family farmers More >
“New Mexico has the potential to lead the nation in new energy jobs and the production of clean renewable energy,” says State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. The New Mexico State Land Office, under the direction of Powell, has been working with local communities and the private sector in support of that goal. “Through successful private-public partnerships, we are working hard to seize the opportunities,” Powell said.
Harnessing the state’s vast solar and wind resources not only advances clean energy and creates jobs, it also earns money. The Land Office offers a flexible land-lease structure that works well with the renewable energy More >
Former Commissioner Sues NM Interstate Stream Commission
The former director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission has been granted a temporary restraining order, halting the commission’s deliberations over the future of the Gila River. Norm Gaume, an engineer, filed suit against his former agency, alleging that the commission violated the state Open Meetings Act because of closed-door discussions. The commission must decide by Dec. 31 whether to accept up to $62 million in federal funding to help dam the river to create a water-diversion and reservoir system. Guame and his many supporters think that the project would harm would devastate More >
The Santa Fe Food Policy Council (SFFPC), comprising 13 people including city and county staff, was established by a joint resolution from the city and county of Santa Fe. The council’s Food Plan is intended to facilitate the creation and maintenance of a regional food system to ensure the availability of food supplies for area residents in coming decades. Accomplishing that goal will require increasing the Santa Fe’s area’s capacity for self-reliance.
The culmination of several years of extensive community-level research, the recently revised Planning for Santa Fe’s Food Future examines various issues through the lens of food, including health, More >